While car pool lanes used to be relatively sparse, they’ve quickly gained popularity across the nation. There are thousands of miles of car pool lanes in the United States, and such lanes can be found in most of the country’s states, aiding large numbers of commuters every day. Car pool lanes (also known as HOV, or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes) are freeway lanes specifically for vehicles with multiple occupants. Usually the minimum number of occupants required for the car pool lane is two (including the driver), but it can be three or four depending on the county you’re in, and the freeway that you’re driving on. Vehicles with only one occupant are not allowed in the car pool lanes, except if they are driving a motorcycle, or, in some states, in an alternative fuel vehicle (such as a plug-in electric or gas-electric hybrid car).
Because there are fewer carpoolers on the road than vehicles with single occupants, car pool lanes are able to usually run at a high freeway speed, even during prime rush hours, when the rest of the freeway is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. This not only rewards those who do opt to carpool, but encourages others to do the same. As more and more people opt to share their rides, less and less cars are on the freeway, which reduces traffic for all, decreases carbon emissions, and minimizes the damage done to the roads (which also limits the road repair costs for taxpayers). All in all, car pool lanes are a great way for commuters to save time and money, as well as the hassle of sitting in stop and go traffic, all while having a beneficial impact on the roads, the environment, and fellow drivers.
For states that incentivize carpooling on their freeways, the laws for them are among the most important rules of the road, since such a high number of commuters rely on car pool lanes every day. While these lanes have great benefits to many drivers, they also will result in a large fine for those who break the rules, so it’s extremely important to learn and abide by all of the car pool lane rules, just as you would with all other major traffic laws. Car pool lanes also vary depending on what state you’re in, so always observe the local rules when travelling out of state so that you can get the most out of the car pool lane.
Are there car pool lanes in Mississippi?
Despite the fact that nine interstates run in or through Mississippi, there are currently no car pool lanes in the state. There are a few reasons why car pool lanes are absent in the state. The primary reason is because Mississippi is a rural area, with far more scenic areas than major cities. Without a metropolis, there’s no one place in Mississippi where the bulk of the state’s workers are commuting into or out of. Without a high density of rush hour traffic, there’s much less need for car pool lanes.
Mississippi’s freeways were also built before car pool lanes were common. In order to add car pool lanes to their freeways now, the state would have to either convert all-access lanes to car pool lanes (which would likely be detrimental, given the lack of traffic), or add new lanes to the freeways, which would cost an exorbitant sum of money.
Will there be car pool lanes in Mississippi anytime soon?
Because there’s not a dramatic need for car pool lanes in Mississippi, there are currently no plans to add them to the state’s freeways. Car pool lanes have not been seriously discussed by public officials, and no plans to add them have been presented to the public.
At some point in the future, Mississippi’s freeways will have to be rebuilt, and when that time comes it would be a good idea for the state to consider adding car pool lanes. However, it seems unlikely that car pool lanes will be implemented in Mississippi until there are other reasons to work on the roads.
Even though Mississippi is a rural state with a low population, it could still benefit from car pool lanes on its freeways. Hopefully the state will add some of these lanes sometime in the future, to aid the many drivers who elect to carpool to work each day.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What are the Car Pool Lane Rules in Mississippi? and was authored by Brady Klopfer.